|Remember Dean Pees? He’s still calling defenses and running secondaries: ‘He’s going to change things up’||12.09.16 at 11:18 am ET|
FOXBORO — How will the Patriots attack the Ravens Monday night?
Whether it’s Tom Brady firing passes all over the field against their secondary or mixing in Dion Lewis and James White, one thing is for certain, the Patriots’ offense will be taking on a very familiar foe.
Dean Pees is in his fifth year as Ravens defensive coordinator. As Chris Price notes, Pees is no stranger to Brady and the Patriots, beating Brady twice in four meetings over that period, including the 2012 AFC championship at Gillette Stadium.
The last time the Patriots faced Pees, Rob Gronkowski had seven catches on 13 targets for 108 yards and a touchdown. Danny Amendola had five catches on six targets for 81 yards and two touchdowns, including the trick play from Julian Edelman. That’s 12 catches, 189 yards and three touchdowns worth of production from the top two receivers from the 2014 AFC divisional game that will be missing Monday night.
Pees, of course, is no stranger to Patriots fans either, having run the Patriots’ defense from 2006 through 2009, taking over for Eric Mangini when Mangini left to become the Jets head coach in ’06.
Pees was at the helm in 2007 when the Patriots went 18-0 before falling 17-14 to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII. It was in that game that Pees and the defense came under scrutiny at the end for allowing Giants receiver Plaxico Burress to be in single coverage with 5-foot-9 Ellis Hobbs on the outside.
But that’s water under the bridge and now it’s up to Josh McDaniels and the Patriots to come up with some type of game plan to attack a Ravens defense that is leading the NFL in fewest rushing yards allowed at 73.8. The next closest team is Dallas at 82.3.
How might knowing Pees and his tendencies factor into game planning?
“I don’t try to guess, that’s for sure,” McDaniels said. “Dean is going to change things up. Dean is going to do the things that have made him successful as a coach and Baltimore successful as a team. I think my concern is not going to be trying to over-analyze how Dean may or may not think about this week, but to try to prepare the best we can with our staff and our players to get ready to play one of the best defenses in the league without question.
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|Dean Pees: ‘This isn’t [Deion] Branch and [Randy] Moss and those guys’||01.07.15 at 6:02 pm ET|
BALTIMORE – Former Patriots defensive coordinator Dean Pees laughs at the notion that he has some kind of hex on the Patriots based on his experience in the organization.
Now the defensive coordinator for the Ravens, Pees will try to devise a scheme to stop the Pats this weekend in Foxboro. If he succeeds, it won’t be because he coached in New England from 2004-09.
“I don’t think I know them as well as everyone thinks I know them,” Pees said. “I’ve been gone five years. I think there are two guys on the defense who was there when I was there — [Vince] Wilfork and [Rob] Ninkovich. Every year the offense is different with those guys, depending on the running back, the wide receiver. This isn’t [Deion] Branch and [Randy] Moss and those guys. It’s just different. People talk about my familiarity. It’s just the fact that I know coach [Bill] Belichick and the coaching staff, and half of those guys are gone. It’s been so far removed, it’s just different.”
Pees touched on the difficulties of game-planning for the Patriots, who are as unpredictable offensively as any team in the game.
“I’ve seen them go five wides and no huddle for a whole game,” he said. “I’ve seen them go three tight ends for a whole game. You’ve got to get ready for everything. That’s why they’re good. That’s why they win every year. They do a great job with whoever they have.”
And the one constant, of course, is Tom Brady.
“No. 12 is still the main cog,” Pees said. “He makes it go. But he’s done it with all kinds of different offenses, really. They ran the ball well on us last year (in a 41-7 victory), but we’re not the same team either.
“Hey, we’re playing the best, you’ve got to beat the best.”
|What Antonio Brown might teach Josh McDaniels, Patriots about Ravens’ approach to Rob Gronkowski||01.05.15 at 9:32 pm ET|
With interviews with the Falcons and 49ers out of the way, Josh McDaniels said Monday that his complete focus now is on the Ravens in the AFC divisional round this Saturday. That’s a good thing because after watching the Ravens defense handle Steelers’ wideout Antonio Brown over the weekend, he knows that he’ll need his whole bag of tricks to make sure they don’t do the same thing to Rob Gronkowski.
“They seem to do a good job each week of forcing the offense to do some things that maybe the offense didn’t want to do,” said McDaniels on a conference call Monday. “They have the ability to try to take somebody out of the game with different things that they can do in their scheme. They also have good players that they can just cover and match up with the guys they have without doing anything special.”
Cornerback Ladarius Webb was asked to spot Brown Saturday night in Pittsburgh. Ben Roethlisberger targeted the NFL’s leading receiver 14 times, connected just nine times for 117 yards. Take out the 44-yarder in the second half and that’s eight catches for 73 yards. Webb also kept Brown out of the end zone.
“They’ve played a lot of good players this year, and really they don’t do a lot of exotic things to take them out of the game,” McDaniels said. “They play good team defense. It’s one of the best units in the league for a reason. They’re well coached, as I mentioned before. They play hard. It’s 11 guys playing the same call and executing their assignment on every snap, which makes this a tremendous challenge for us.”
McDaniels will also being going up against old friend Dean Pees, the defensive coordinator in Baltimore who held the same job in New England for four years (2006-09).
“I don’t know how much of an advantage it is from one year to the next because Dean is obviously a very good coach,” McDaniels said. “This unit we’re playing is very talented. But they don’t really stay the same in terms of the things that they use or do in each game that we’ve played them.”
|Bill Belichick on D&H: Josh McDaniels’ interviews last weekend were a ‘pretty clean situation’||at 7:15 pm ET|
Patriots coach Bill Belichick joined Dale & Holley on Monday to look ahead to this Saturday’s divisional round game against the Ravens and also to look back on the bye week and some of the things that took place, including offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels interviewing for a few head coaching positions. To hear the interview, go to the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.
It was reported McDaniels interviewed with the Falcons and 49ers in New England for their head coaching jobs, as the Patriots were on their bye and the interviews were conducted within the league structured window during the bye week. McDaniels said Monday he is now focused on the Ravens, and Belichick said there weren’t any issues.
“We dealt with it as recently as last year, so it is what it is,” Belichick said. “We have a job to do. I think Josh did a great job last year in terms of staying focused and doing his part in preparing for the postseason games and I think he’s done that again this year. There is no issues there.”
“Each one is a little bit different, but based on our schedule and the way the rules are, and what the format is, I think it was a pretty clean situation this time,” he added. “It was all over by Saturday, and Sunday we were onto the Ravens, so full speed ahead.”
Following the Patriots’ practice on New Year’s Eve, the team went to Patriot Place and saw the movie, “American Sniper” directed by Clint Eastwood. It was not the first time Belichick has gathered the team to see a movie, and Belichick thought it was a good experience for the team, as well as a good teaching tool.
“That wasn’t a spontaneous thing at all because that movie hasn’t been released — it’s not out,” Belichick said. “To be honest with you, it wasn’t that easy to have the opportunity to see, so we certainly are appreciative to Clint Eastwood for making this possible and a couple of other people along the way. There’s some things that are options and other things you have to set up a bit. There seemed to be a lot of talk and interest in that around the locker room, around the building, so we were able to do it. I think the guys enjoyed it — I did. It’s a great movie. It has some good messages in it and really focuses on skill and will.”
|Tom Brady on D&C dismisses talk of past struggles vs. Ravens: ‘Everything’s different at this point’||at 7:54 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady checked in with Dennis & Callahan for his weekly Monday morning chat and talked about the team’s preparations for the upcoming playoff matchup with the Ravens. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The Patriots will meet a familiar foe after Baltimore went into Pittsburgh and knocked off the Steelers on Saturday. The Ravens beat the Patriots in the postseason two years ago en route to a Super Bowl title, and Baltimore also beat New England in Foxboro in the 2009 postseason. However, Brady dismisses talk about the Patriots’ recent playoff struggles against this franchise.
“Everything’s different at this point,” Brady said. “We can never change anything that’s happened in the past, nor can they. You can’t bring players out of retirement, they can’t either. It’s the guys we’ve got vs. the guys they’ve got, which that’s an entirely new team that we have and an entirely new team that they have. There’s some carryover, there’s some characteristics that are the same, but these teams have established their own identities. It’s going to be the Patriots’ 2014 version vs. the Ravens’ 2014 version and we go from there.
“We’ll be able to evaluate some stuff scheme-wise that they could possibly do vs. us, that’s always helpful. But it will be determined by what happens on the field Saturday night, not anything that’s happened in the past.”
The Ravens are led by a defensive front that is sure to present issues for a Patriots offensive line that has had some problems this season.
“They’ve got a good front,” Brady said. “We’ve faced quite a few teams that have good fronts this year. Obviously [Elvis] Dumervil‘s had a phenomenal year. He’s been a great player since he’s been in the league, that’s why Baltimore signed him [as a free agent before the 2013 season]. [Terrell] Suggs is as good as they get. [Haloti] Ngata’s as good as they get. [Pernell] McPhee’s had a good year. And then they rotate some other guys in there, Brandon Williams is a really good player. So they’ve got a good front.
“They’ve got good linebackers, probably one of the defensive rookies of the year at linebacker [C.J. Mosley]. And Lardarius Webb in the secondary. They’ve had a few injuries in the secondary but they’ve been pretty settled there for a while now. It’s a hard-hitting secondary, it’s a hard-hitting defense. Like I said, they don’t give you anything. We’ve got to go out and try to earn it.”
|Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees excited for another showdown with old friend Tom Brady||12.20.13 at 6:30 am ET|
Dean Pees isn’t buying it.
The Baltimore defensive coordinator spent plenty of time in New England — six years, to be exact — and despite the fact that the Patriots have listed quarterback Tom Brady with a right shoulder issue on a fairly regular basis for the better part of the last decade, he knows what’s up when it comes to Sunday’s New England-Baltimore game.
‘How many years has he been in the league? He’s been on the injury report every week for 12 years,’ Pees said with a laugh on Thursday. ‘That’s nothing new there now. I was there six years, [and] I don’t think I ever saw him ‘¦ I never knew he had a bad shoulder.’
Pees knows a few other things about the New England offense, and Brady in particular. He was the linebackers coach with the Patriots in 2004 and 2005, and was New England’s defensive coordinator from 2006 through 2009. Getting the chance to go up against Brady every day in practice allowed him to get a good feel for what he can and can’t do when it comes to game-planning for the Patriots’ offense, and the quarterback in particular.
‘He’s seen it all, so there is probably nothing new coverage-wise that you are going to throw at him that he hasn’t seen,’ Pees said of Brady. ‘What you’ve got to be really careful of is thinking that you’re so clever that you are going to outsmart him, and then you can’t play the coverage you’re showing him.
‘Bottom line is, yes, you’re always trying to disguise and do stuff, but when it’s all said and done, whether he knows it or whether he doesn’t know it, we better make sure we can play it.’
One of the keys, according to Pees, is to be able to generate pressure without blitzing.
‘You can’t rely on [blitzing] all the time; he’ll pick you apart,’ Pees said. ‘Just like [Peyton] Manning and all the good ones ‘ there are just not that many coverages or many blitzes that you can come up with that they haven’t seen, and he doesn’t recognize.
‘He is really good and the ball comes out extremely quick, so we’ve got to get pressure on him with the four-man rush.’
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|McDaniels: Pees never a serious candidate for Denver job||03.01.10 at 12:00 am ET|
INDIANAPOLIS ‘ When Dean Pees left the Patriots earlier this past offseason (reports differ as to whether he jumped or was pushed overboard after six years in New England, the last four as defensive coordinator), it was just a matter of time before he was linked to the vacant defensive coordinators’ position in Denver.
On the surface, it seemed like a natural move: Mike Nolan had left the Broncos defensive coordinator job for the same position in Miami. McDaniels and Pees were together on the New England staff from 2004 to 2008, and it was believed the two got along well together when they were together with the Patriots.
But this weekend at the NFL Scouting Combine, Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels said Pees was never a serious candidate for the Denver job. Instead, it was a case of people putting two and two together and ending up with five.
‘I had a relationship with Dean, obviously, in New England,’ McDaniels said. ‘I think it was just a case where he was kind of out there, available, we had an opening and people seemed to connect the dots, probably mistakenly. Most of that conversation, there was no fruit to it.’
Instead, the Broncos decided to promote from within, elevating the popular linebackers coach Don ‘Wink’ Martindale to the position of defensive coordinator. (Pees ended up as the linebackers coach in Baltimore.) It was a move some people believed was sparked after the players’ lobbied heavily for Martindale.
‘We didn’t make any decisions based on that, but always the input from your players is something you would consider because their input obviously matters to us, what they think about a coach’s ability in their room is critical,’ McDaniels said. ‘They provided great insight, some of which I knew, some of which I didn’t.
‘We’re excited, we’re excited about the direction we’re going to go.’
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